Picture source: Al-Monitor News
With the Taliban now firmly in grasp of power in Afghanistan, they have started to recommence trade with foreign countries to get resources into the country. Iran had started to resume their fuel exports to Afghanistan earlier this week. Iran and Afghanistan are both under harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and other organisations such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund), but now due to the recommencing of trade between the two, the pressure felt from these sanctions will be severely undercut.
Iran had been cut out from the global market by American sanctions, but the trading that occurs with Afghanistan gives Iran access to a steady stream of US dollars to build their own reserves, import essential goods and strengthen their own depreciated currency. Additionally, this arrangement benefits the Taliban, who are cut off from trade by international sanctions, to import vital commodities into Afghanistan. With the Taliban looking for new trading partners, and Iran short of cash, trading between the two are expected to rise. This relationship severely hinders the leverage that the Biden administration has over Afghanistan and Iran.
Picture by: Julie Ricard
However, the Taliban’s rule also poses a threat to Iran’s national security. In Iran, majority of the Muslim population are Shia, and in Afghanistan its mainly Sunni. Due to the shift in power, many Afghanistan citizens are seeking refuge in neighboring countries to escape from living under a Taliban controlled regime. Currently there are 800,000 registered Afghan refugees in Iran with a further 2 million are unregistered. There have been concerns raised about the possibility of extremist Sunni militant groups rising and opposing the Shia teachings of Islam in Iran. But the Taliban have tried to keep tensions between the two as low as possible and have even cut tariffs on oil products by 70%.
The US have tried to block the Taliban from attaining large sums of dollars that would help establish their regime, and recently even led a successful campaign to stop them from accessing nearly 500 million dollars worth of reserves at the IMF.
August 26th | 5:10 PM